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11Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands—
12remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world.
13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. (Ephesians 2:11–13 ESV)
There are three types of people in this world: people with no hope; people who are living with false hope; and people with real hope. The second chapter of Ephesians speaks of people “having no hope”. People who don’t have hope are really miserable. Let spend some time understanding their dreadful situation.
1) No Hope (Ephesians 2:11–13)
Some people expect tomorrow would be better than today, but who can predict the future? As humans are intentionally or unintentionally destroying the nature, one of the results is global warming. One of the problems that global warming brings is water shortage.
As a matter of fact, the earth is drying up. Brazil’s São Paulo is a megacity with a population of 20 million. In 2015, due to lack of water, the city stopped supplying water for 12 hours a day, forcing many businesses and industries to shut down. For your information, fourteen of the world’s 20 megacities are now experiencing water shortages or droughts.
In addition, the world population will rapidly increase. Experts estimate that the world population would increase to 9.6 billion in 2100, and some even predict the number would increase to 12.3 billion. Many people reckon that it is really difficult to make money today but I believe that it would be even harder down the road. As we have to face population explosion, the prospects for humanity are very bleak.
Ladies and gentlemen, do you have any hope? Someone once said, “If you could convince a man there was no hope, he would curse the day he was born.” Many years ago, a submarine was hit by a ship and quickly sank. The entire crew in the submarine were awaiting death. Other ships quickly rushed to the location of the accident, which was off the coast of Massachusetts. We don’t know what had happened inside of the submarine, but what is certain is that these seamen clung bravely to life as they ran out of oxygen. A diver placed his ear to the side of the vessel and listened. He heard the sound of tapping. Someone used Morse code to communicate with the outside world, and the message slowly came out: “Is … there … any … hope?” This seems to be the cry of humanity: “Is there any hope?”
Took My Hope Away
The director of the medical center recalls an accident that a young man came in for his usual treatment as usual. Rashly and cruelly, a new doctor told this young man with terminal illness that he couldn’t survive until the end of this year. As the young man left, he stopped by the director’s desk and wept and said, “That man took away my hope.”
The Apostle Paul stated that some people are living without any hope in this world. God chose the Israelites as His people and promised them the Messiah and His kingdom. However, due to their disobedience and hardness of their hearts, the Jews refused to accept the salvation of Jesus Christ, and thus missed God’s spiritual blessings. As for the Gentiles or non-Jews who do not know Jesus Christ, they would not have any hope as well. Dear friends, do you believe that there is life after death? Where would you be when you leave this world? Do you have any hope for the future? Dear believers, where do you put your hope in?
2) False Hope（Psalm 33:13–17）
13The Lord looks down from heaven; he sees all the children of man; 14from where he sits enthroned he looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, 15he who fashions the hearts of them all and observes all their deeds. 16The king is not saved by his great army; a warrior is not delivered by his great strength. 17The war horse is a false hope for salvation, and by its great might it cannot rescue. (Psalm 33:13–17 ESV)
The Purpose of the Poet
The Psalmist stated that the war horse is a false hope but only those who trust in the true God can be saved (Ps. 33:18-19).
Weapons (Hosea 10:13), wealth (Psalm 49:5-9), and idols (Isaiah 44:9-11) cannot bring long-term stability. In the Old Testament, when people didn’t put their hope in the true God, but place their hope in people or things instead, the results would be chaos and disaster; these are the results of false hope. Many people have placed their hope in this temporal world, but people and things will constantly change. Some people are proud of having good health and regard this as their source of enjoyment of life. We shouldn’t place our hope in our health because no one can ensure our health would be excellent in the future. Our physical bodies are like machines – will eventually break down.
Signs of Old Age
When do you know that you are getting old? The first thing is that you feel like the morning after, and you haven’t been anywhere the night before. Second, everything hurts and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work. Third, you look forward to a dull evening. Fourth, you find yourself giving good advice instead of setting a bad example. Finally, on your birthday cake, will find the candles cost more than the cake.
Unpredictable Health Issues
After the medical examination, many people thought their health were in excellent condition, but some died suddenly during workout. Don’t be complacent with your health because your health condition can be unpredictable.
Two young wives were discussing the pitfalls of love and marriage, and they all ridiculed their husbands and men. One of the main complaints was that their husbands did not wisely use their money. One of them sighed and said, “If only I were the wife of a millionaire.” The other woman corrected her in saying, “You mean, of course, if only you were the widow of a millionaire.” Many people place their hope in money, but take note that money should not be the only driving force and hope in your life.
The Reasons of Being Workaholics
As for many people, their work meant everything to them. In a simple sentence, they solely place their hope in their jobs. Some workaholics are indulged in their work as means to escape from reality, but eventually they would end up in disappointment.
Death of Workaholics
When workaholics retire, many of them often feel that they are useless. Lack of meaning in life, workaholics can die early. Ladies and gentlemen, work simply cannot bring us real hope.
It is understandable that many parents invest most of their energy in bringing up their children. However, parents shouldn’t expect too much from their children in return. They shouldn’t expect their children to take care of them when they get old. As the saying goes: “The higher the expectation, the greater the disappointment.” In conclusive terms, parents shouldn’t place their hope in their children.
Many young people want to get married because they mistakenly believe that marriage can bring them unlimited happiness. As a result, many people aren’t happy and don’t have security when they get married. Sadly, marriage might not bring satisfaction and it might bring people false hope.
Shortly before he died, the famous atheist Jean-Paul Sartre declared that he would die in hope, but admitted that it was without a foundation. Although he was a great philosopher, his knowledge didn’t give him real hope.
Many sincere men and women invest time, energy and money in their religion, hoping for a better reincarnation, or earning eternal life consequently. However, the Bible clearly tells us that human righteousness is like filthy rags, and human beings cannot save themselves by good works.
Lessons from The Bible
There are only two major religions in the world. The first category is salvation by good works, the second one is salvation by God’s grace. Christianity belongs to the latter category. Humans cannot save themselves from sin, because we don’t have the ability to meet God’s standard. Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and only He is perfect. By His death on the cross, He has borne the transgressions and sins of all humans. For those who confess their sins, repent and believe Jesus Christ as Savior will be saved.
3) Real Hope (1 Corinthians 15:1–14)
Three Types of Death
11Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed. 12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. (1 Corinthians 15:11–13 ESV) As all humans sinned against God, we have to bear the consequences of sin. The three outcomes are physical death, spiritual and eternal death. First of all, all humans have to go through physical death. No matter how rich or poor we’re, no matter what background we have, we simply cannot conquer death. Secondly, after humans became sinners, the father-child relationship with God was broken. As sinners cannot commune with God, this is called spiritual death. The third kind of death is eternal death. Without God’s grace and salvation, all humans would be separated from God forever after physical death.
The Core of Christian Faith
The core of the Christian faith is about Lord Jesus; He is the conqueror over death and He is the resurrected Lord. If Jesus Christ had not risen from the dead, Christianity would be torn apart.
The Hope of This Life
What people can offer is no hope and false hope, but the Bible tells us that our hope should be based on the compassionate work of Jesus. Jesus became a human being and lived on the earth for thirty-three years. Through His earthly experience, He can understand the suffering of the world. And Jesus has become our High Priest in heaven now. The author of Hebrews said, 15 This High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same testings we do, yet he did not sin. (Hebrews 4:15 NLT) Long before the birth of Jesus Christ, Isaiah the prophet foretold the suffering of our Redeemer. As He has suffered on earth, He is deeply sympathetic to the sufferings of the world.
The Hope of Eternal Life
As for those who trust in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, they will not only receive help and guidance from Jesus in the world, but they will have eternal life when they die.
The Dying Words of a Soldier
A chaplain recalled the dying words of a soldier. The dying Christian said, “Tell my mother that I am lying without hope of recovery.… My hope is in Christ, for whose sake I hope to be saved. Tell her that she and my brother cannot see me again on earth, but they can meet me in heaven.… I know I am going there.”
As for those who trust in Jesus Christ, for sure they will have hope, because the Lord Jesus has overcome death, and He has promised to grant eternal life to all believers. If you were an outsider of Christian faith, are you willing to accept the Lord’s saving grace now? Perhaps, you might ask, “How can I become a Christian?”
31And Jesus answered them, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 32I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” (Luke 5:31–32 ESV) The Lord Jesus makes it clear that those who are conscious of their illness will seek help from a doctor. Similarly, individuals who believe they are good people will not come to trust in Jesus. The Lord Jesus clearly stated that all sinners need to repent. 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. (Romans 3:23 NLT) All human beings have sinned and they need to confess their sins, repent and turn to Jesus Christ for salvation. Some theologians have pointed out that repentance involves three different steps. First, believers have to go through the emotional element of regret, that is, they must be sorry for their past wrongdoings (Matthew 21:29-32). Second, in terms of attitude, Christians will experience an attitude change (Matthew 12:41; Luke 11:32; 15:7, 19). Third, believers in Christ will experience changes in their direction in life (Matthew 13:15; Luke 17:4; 22:32). Dear friends, Jesus Christ has already died on the cross for the sins of the world, and three days later He has risen from the dead. By means of His love, the Lord Jesus calls sinners to repent. To believe in Jesus involves three things: first, we have to confess that we are sinners; second, we must be willing to repent; third, we must sincerely accept and follow Jesus Christ. Dear friends and Christians, only Jesus Christ is the only way and hope of all humankind.